Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dim Sum

On Friday, we went for Dim Sum lunch. It is a very popular and traditional Chinese lunch, and I am totally in love with it. It is more fun to get Dim Sum with a large group, because you order a bunch of small dishes and share, kind of like appetizers. My favorite Dim Sum is the shrimp dumpling (in middle of photo) wrapped in a rice flour dough, sort of like a ravioli--don't know the name. Since we don't speak Chinese, we have to go to a restaurant with a picture menu. Often they have English menus, but that doesn't always help. For example, we ordered Taro Spring Rolls (bottom of photo), thinking they were vegetable, but they tasted like meat. I just looked up taro and Wikipedia says it is a vegetable, but I didn't like it. This is the fun of trying new things and with Dim Sum, there isn't much risk since the dishes are small. Clockwise from top is fat rice noodles, Chinese broccoli, and vege and shrimp dumplings, with sauces in the middle.

We went for Dim Sum after we applied for our Hong Kong Identity Cards. This is similar to a drivers license and proves we are permanent residents. We have to show this card for a lot of things such as trying to open a bank account, setting up utilities, etc. We have a temporary one now, and will get the actual card in two weeks. The process was pretty smooth. With the HK ID card, we can go through the short line at immigration in the airport. You are identified via your thumb print and it is all automated--very cool.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Last night was the Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival celebrating the full moon. There were lanterns all over the city and lots of people were out to look at the moon. It seemed to be a child-focused celebration. (Editing with new information: the Moon Festival is a family focused holiday because the full moon represents the fullness of a complete family.) Schools and some businesses were closed today. I had to take a picture of this little girl who was just too cute in her Chinese dress and Hello Kitty lantern.

A large part of the holiday is a once-a-year dessert appropriately named the Moon Cake. Erik had several flavors of Moon Cake at work, but I only had the traditional version pictured here. The yellow, egg center represents the full moon. It is hard to describe the flavor. The outside is similar to a pie crust and the texture of the inside is very thick, like fudge. The egg center is not a egg yolk, but is made of egg and tasted like the rest, sort of a combination of peanut and maple flavor. I am sure what you are imagining is not how it actually tastes, but we are unable to describe it better. The funny thing about the Moon Cake is the Chinese emphatically exclaim how sweet it is, but to us, it was barely sweet at all. (Editing: I learned the tan filling in the moon cake is ground lotus seeds, which explains why it tasted similar to peanut butter.)

The night was very enjoyable with happiness in the air.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Big & Small

Here a few pictures we took around the city. There is such a dramatic difference between 'big' spaces and 'small' spaces. It is understandable in a city so densely populated. Here is a picture of me in Tsim Sha Tsui, a busy area with lots of shopping, hotels, etc. near the Kowloon waterfront. You can see the big ads and double-decker bus. Conversely, is a picture of two men playing a Chinese board game in the alley behind the Ladies' Market. The Ladies' Market is a street market with all types of things for sale next to each other such as fruit, bras, electronics, fake purses, etc. The Market is literally in the street but there are also small shops behind the Market. These men are in the alley behind the market and in front of the shops.
Finally, is a picture from the roof-top pool at the hotel. Hong Kong is beautiful at night. This picture is looking north onto Kowloon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Before I say what I ate today, I want to respond to the comments I received about the weather. From what I understand, Hong Kong weather is similar to southern Florida--hot and humid most of the year. Palm trees flourish here. As an indicator, the pool at our apartment is outdoor and not heated. It is open March-November. Enjoy the east coast fall you all are experiencing. I am sad to be missing it.

For breakfast I had a western meal of toasted wheat bread with cream cheese and tomato. I included the package in the picture so you can see it is Philly cream cheese but does have Chinese writing. We are drinking instant coffee in the hotel since fresh coffee is really hard to come by here, and we don't want to haul a coffee maker to the apartment with all the other stuff we'll have to move ourselves.

For lunch I had ready-made food from the local grocery. The greens are the same as I described previously; slight bitter, sauteed with garlic. The other dish is noodles and bean sprouts, but I wasn't 100% sure what it was when I ordered it. The big fat noodles are a long sheet of dough rolled up. What is shown on the plate is about 1/3 of a small container of each item. With the Coke, it was $4.69 and I have leftovers for at least one more meal.

Not pictured: small gelatto in the afternoon.

For dinner Erik and I shared a vege and shrimp Chinese omelet. We had no idea of what that fried cutlet thing was (half shown on plate--other half quickly shoved down throat.) It tasted like mashed sweet potato with a few other veges thrown in--very tasty.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pea Soup

The weather took a turn for the worse this weekend. It was incredibly humid and very hot--probably close to 100% humidity and in the 90s. The temperature is reported in Celsius so I am never totally sure how hot it is. Most things are in metric including weights at the grocery store and on the scale in the gym. The treadmill measures in kilometers, which I like because I set the speed to what feels comfortable as opposed to trying to hit a mile-per-minute target.

This weekend we shopped for furniture and explored the area near our apartment. We were excited to discover it is a manageable walk from the apartment to the Jordan MTR (subway) stop. I am not sure where I'll do the main grocery shopping. There is a great grocery store one MTR stop away, but it is the HK equivalent to Whole Foods and that's just too pricey.

On Saturday, we went out for pizza in Central; it was very good. Then we had some beers in Lan Kwai Fung, the area where all the bars are. It was a good time.

Below are a few pictures of the hotel where we are staying and the view from the entrance. The room is very modest compaired to the lobby. You can see how hazy and humid it is from the harbor picture. This haze is mostly pollution. I promise to take pictures of some food tomorrow. I was so hungry for dinner tonight that I couldn't wait :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I am getting into a groove with my routine. It is hard not going to work each day, but I am trying to relax and enjoy my leisurely days and let them unfold as they want. My goal is to let the job develop in its own way while applying to many to feel productive. I waiver between feeling panicked about the uncertainty of my future and chillin' in the moment. I saw a funny mantra in a Nike ad, "Things work out better when I don't give a crap." I am using it for the time being.

I like spending time at Pacific Coffee and using the internet and reading magazines. Once the apartment is secured, it will be a mad rush of shopping to acquire all the necessities. The past few days, I have been shopping for furniture, but won't purchase anything until the apartment is secured.

I told some people I would take pictures of my food, and I will start doing it. We have been getting most dinners at the local grocery store, Jusco. They have a large selection of prepared food and it is cheap. Last night I got a large container with half noodles and half vegetables. It fed me for two large dinners. This container cost $18HK or $2.30US. The noodles were fried with veges like lo mein and the 'vegetables' were a very popular green here in HK that seems like a cross between bok choy and broccoli rabe. The ones I got at Jusco were sauteed with garlic. Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised by the cost of things; cheaper than anticipated.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Today I had my first 'foreigner' moment. I was shopping in a store that was similar to Bath & Body Works. I smelled a small glass bottle of fragrance and the sales gal asked to help me, which is fairly typical in Hong Kong since there are so many service people. So the sales gal sprayed the fragrance on a test strip for me, and I sniffed again then remarked how much I liked it. Next I sprayed the fragrance on my wrists which evoked a horrified reaction from the gal. She proceeded to tell me it was not perfume but airfreshener!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I drafted this thought while waiting to board my plane on Wednesday, September 5:

The past few days have been very sad and I am grieving for everything that 'was' including dear sweet Olive. The emotional process of this move has been far more taxing than I would have predicted. I am full of positive aniticiaption for my/our future, but it is hard to say good bye to everything and everyone that was familiar and homey.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

On my way

The house is packed, locked and loaded. The movers were excellent and it seems like all my worries were for naught. We have shipped 1,026 pounds of stuff via air to Hong Kong, which really wasn't much stuff--some closes, dishes, few books, hobby stuff, and our small coffee table. We both packed a huge amount of stuff to take on the plane. Now that the move is complete, I am excited to begin the new adventure since this door is swinging closed. I took some pictures of our moving experience, but the camera went with Erik, so I'll have to post them next week.

One of my goals for the blog is to experience the food in Asia and make note of the differences to US food. My first experience was at the hotel (in the US) when I saw a Chinese man eating a breakfast of oatmeal topped with jalapenos and scallions. It was unsweetened oatmeal and my guess is that he was trying to create a congee type dish. I haven't had congee yet, but am eager to try it. I think it is like a savory cream of wheat but made from rice.

I will try to post several times a week once I am in Hong Kong on September 7.